100 for 2000 – #26. Darren Hanlon – Hello Stranger

To end another wonderful decade of great music, I’m going to write about ten albums from each of the last ten years, that are either great, or hold some sort of personal significance. A musical kiss off to 00s.

2002 – #6. Darren Hanlon – Hello Stranger
(Candle)

Last time on the Darren Hanlon story…. our hero had just released his first EP, and got his first national radio exposure with Falling Aeroplanes. The story continues with Hello Stranger.

I don’t think I missed a single Darren Hanlon Sydney show in the first five years of this decade. And every time, the shows would get a little bit bigger. And more and more new songs crept into the set. So we got to know these songs live – meet them, great them, work out what they were about, pick out our favourite bits – all before it made the eventual record.

Hanlon was on fire at this point – inspiration coming from all angles. A tour of Europe provided three amazing, and amazingly different songs.

The Kickstand Song – Hanlon met a girl on a train who claimed her father invented the kickstand. So from that he wrote a song from the view of that man – and why not?

Operator, Get Me Sweden – a long distance declaration of love, with an obscure reference to the Vasa, a Swedish war ship.

The Last Night Of Not Knowing You – a hint of things to come, and one of the last songs written for the album. A genuinely touching ballad without a hint of novelty, about the happenstances that lead to a perfect meeting.

And the rest of the album is just as good. The most upbeat song was naturally the single – Punk’s Not Dead. Sweeter still is He Misses You Too, You Know and the hospital break-up story of Cast Of Thousands.

In retrospect, it’s a showy album. It’s too reliant on cheap songwriting gags – it’sthe lyrical version of a special effects movie. Hanlon would get better as he got subtler with future albums.

To be continued…

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